52 Books a Year: #23 - Programming in Python 3

Posted by Brian Thu, 03 Dec 2009 00:55:00 GMT

Programming in Python 3
By Mark Summerfield


Programming in Python 3 was my introduction to Python and the book that guided me when I started my pyFish project. When I started the project I decided I wanted to use Python 3, which had just came out, and this was the only book that had been published at the time.

First, the good. If you are an experienced programmer looking to pick up a new language this is a good book. The first section gets you up to speed with the language quickly and little time is wasted with introductory concepts. Through the rest of the book you get a good overview of Python features,with extra emphasis given to those added in Python 3, and information about libraries that can be used for various tasks, such as XML processing.

It’s not all good though. At times the writing is very dense. The book covers a lot of ground and Summerfield doesn’t waste much time covering it. Needless to say this is not the book for someone new to programming. However, the choices in Python 3 books were still pretty slim last I looked so this might be the best choice there is. I know it will serve as a useful reference for yours to come on my shelf.

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52 Books a Year: #22 - Agile Estimating and Planning

Posted by Brian Wed, 02 Dec 2009 02:12:00 GMT

Agile Estimating and Planning
By Mike Cohn


Agile has gotten a bad reputation over the years from those who do not understand it. I get the impression that it has been forced on many unwilling teams by managers chasing after the latest fad. Unfortunately Agile works best when it develops organically within a team until they decide to more formally adopt it as a development style. This was the case with our team at work. We had been moving more towards Test Driven Development for a couple of years and when a larger project than usual came up we decided as a team to move more formally towards an Agile approach. We used Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn as our guide.

As a writer Cohn moves along at a crisp pace with real world examples. Many development books feel the need to crack jokes or make pop culture references left and right. This is not one of those books. He covers estimating size, planning, scheduling, and tracking. In addition he tackles why you would want to adopt Agile. The chapter on financial prioritization is especially useful for developers, as it gives insight into tools that can be used to justify the costs of projects to those with the checkbook. If you have a team that is considering Agile then this book is an excellent choice to start with.

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